Varlamov stops 32 shots as the Avalanche beat the Kings 4-1

Semyon Varlamov put recent struggles behind him, and the Colorado Avalanche’s sputtering offense did the same — at least for one night.

DENVER (AP) — Semyon Varlamov put recent struggles behind him, and the Colorado Avalanche’s sputtering offense did the same — at least for one night.

Varlamov had 32 saves, Patrick Wiercioch and Rene Bourque scored 22 seconds apart and the Avalanche beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Tuesday night.

Gabriel Landeskog and Blake Comeau also scored for Colorado, and Wiercioch added an assist for an offense that scored more than three goals for the first time in 12 games.

“We’ve been waiting for this (for) pretty long,” Varlamov said of the four goals. “It’s always nice to see them.”

Varlamov had been a victim of Colorado’s lack of offense when he went through a personal five-game losing streak. He struggled, too, posting a 3.07 goals-against average during that stretch, though he bounced back in a losing effort against Boston on Sunday.

He followed that 44-save performance with another strong one against the Kings.

“The team played well in front of me,” he said. “When the guys score lots of goals it gives you more confidence.”

Dustin Brown scored for Los Angeles and Peter Budaj stopped 26 shots. It was the Kings’ fourth straight loss after opening their five-game trip with a win in Toronto.

“We hit some posts, but we didn’t bear down on the chances we had,” Drew Doughty said. “We have to make our chances count.”

The Avalanche had not scored a regulation goal for more than five periods before getting two quick ones at the start of the second.

Wiercioch broke through when he stuffed the puck between Budaj’s skate and the post at 1:10 for his second goal of the season.

“I was skating behind the net and saw him cheating off the post, so I tried it,” Wiercioch said. “It doesn’t work a lot in practice. Maybe he was reading pass because we had a guy coming down in the slot. I was able to get my stick around and jam it off his pad.”

Bourque then put his stick on Mikko Rantanen’s shot from the blue line and redirected it past Budaj at 1:32. It was his fifth of the season and third in three games.

The Kings had several chances to get back into it before Brown scored. With Tyson Barrie off for hooking, Nic Dowd backhanded the puck to the front of the net and Brown knocked it in to make it 2-1 with 31 seconds left in the period. It was his third of the season and just the second power-play goal in the last 33 chances for the Kings.

The Avalanche made it a two-goal game at 11:32 of the third when Comeau beat Budaj with a shot from between the circles. The Kings challenged play, claiming Jarome Iginla interfered with Budaj, but the goal was upheld upon review.

“We challenged it because the goalies in the blue paint and he gets bumped a little,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.

Landeskog scored an empty-net goal at 18:23 to make it 4-1.

Notes: Avalanche C Nathan MacKinnon had a career-high 10 shots on goal. … Kings C Anze Kopitar missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury but is expected to skate Wednesday when the team returns to L.A.

Avalanche C Matt Duchene will make the three-game road trip with the hope of playing as early as Thursday. He was on the ice for Tuesday’s morning skate and could be a full participant at Wednesday’s practice. He has also missed two straight games.

Up next

Kings: Host Edmonton on Thursday to start a stretch of four of the next five at Staples Center.

Avalanche: Begin their three-game road trip in Dallas on Thursday night.